Mirrored Acrylic not engraving all the way

Hello all! I’m having a huge problem with my mirrored acrylic not getting a crisp and full engrave (from the back). I’m not sure what the issue is. I’m using Medium Black Acrylic settings, masked on the front and back. Please help!

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Welcome to the forum.

Since this in non proofgrade material, any discussion of settings will be allowed only if this post is moved to the Beyond the Manual category.

Photos of your results would be helpful.

You might find one of these threads helpful. Search results for 'mirror acrylic' - Glowforge Owners Forum


Thank you!

Mirrored acrylic is extruded rather than cast, and is known to engrave poorly. Your photo seems to show wavy engraves and other issues. Can you share a photo of the back which is the actual engrave side?


Mirror acrylic doesn’t behave the same as black, so you might need to play with your settings a bit. Also, it’s possible that the masking is impacting the engrave as the laser has to go through the masking before it touches the material. If your masking is different than what GlowForge uses, that could be another factor.

Definitely take your failed print and try engraving something small on it with different settings to see if you can find just the right one. I don’t think I’ve ever tried to engrave mirrored acrylic, but it definitely doesn’t cut the same as regular acrylic (nod to the comment above about it being extruded vs. cast).


Agree with @ChristyM. I had to experiment quite a bit with mirror acrylic to get results I liked and even then the same thickness in other colors/suppliers still behave differently. The mirror stuff isn’t nearly as consistent as regular acrylic.


The other thing to take into consideration is the backing material - you’re really engraving on whatever they use to make the back reflective… That can vary widely and is going to be something other than actual acrylic.


I’ve had good success using a setting of 1000 speed, power of 85 and an LPI of 225, and I engrave it from the back. I mask the front/mirror side so it doesn’t get marked up on the tray, but there’s no reason to mask the back. Of course, you always want to test the setting first before running a whole project, because materials can vary. (Much less so with acrylic than wood, but it still should be tested.)

FWIW, for cutting I use a speed of 150 and 80 power with the mirror side up, which seems to prevent marring the edges. (Cut acrylic can get like cracks/marks from too much heat, and it can be especially apparent on the mirrored stuff.) I take off any plastic masking that often comes on extruded acrylics as it can melt and leave behind little balls of goo, and I just put masking on just the back (non-mirrored) side that sits on the tray to prevent any flashback.


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